Onsite sketches "Cold East Cross"
I keep being pulled back to Cold East Cross on Dartmoor. It is a pretty insignificant part of the moor. It has no outstanding features, it is not heavily visited or photographed. Maybe that is why I like it, it is just those parts of the landscape I look for, the forgotten and overlooked areas. My initial reason for working there was the large area of swaled gorse earlier in the year, since then I have visited over and over again. Each time I go I see and understand more but the resulting paintings have less in them. For me this is this is a significant breakthrough. I have most definitely overworked my paintings in the past, put too much emphasis on representational detailing and unnecessary embellishment. I have been concentrating on working directly in the landscape and using materials found on site mixed with the paint and for the first time in months I feel I am making progress and feeling motivated to do more.
Working outside is exciting, there is a greater element of risk as time is more limited and you have to use the materials you have with you. For me this is a good thing as it stops me having to make too many decisions and then start overthinking it. There is also the physical effort and discomfort associated with lugging your kit about and the battle with the elements that makes the place more intrinsic to the painting.